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A word of advice when divorcing… “stuff”.

Filed under: General — Vman @ 2:40 pm Tue 25th May 2010

When we separated my ex-wife moved out of the house. There was a lot of “stuff” in the house. I decided right from when we first agreed to separate that she could have any “stuff” she wanted, except my CDs and tools.

In fact I even drew up a list and suggested she take some things she hadn’t thought of because mostly only I used them. Then when she moved I left her entirely to her own devises to take anything she wanted with her. I did this in order to bend over backwards to be fair about splitting possessions.

Some friends and relations didn’t get this initially. They pointed out the injustice of it because I was clearly being ripped off. What they didn’t realize is that in a divorce this “stuff” can become symbolic. Some people want to hold on to or get “stuff” as a way of getting one over the ex. To me, I definitely didn’t want anything that reminded me of her. As for the rest, it is only “stuff” and just not important. I thought it a cheap price to be able to start my new life. At that stage the family court had not entered the equation and I moved on very happily with my new life.

This was a really good attitude to have. Soon my friends and family understood and helped me get rid of all sorts of “stuff” as well as find replacements for the things I really did need. Like a bed!

What this did was dis-empower her. My words and actions made it clear that I didn’t give a rat’s posterior about the “stuff”. I had already moved on in my own mind. All I wanted was to share the care of the kids.

Once the court process started she obviously got advice to try and show there was “conflict” She tried all sorts of things.

One thing she tried a few times was that she asked for all the best kids toys as a way of trying to win over the kids. I didn’t argue about any of it. I even arranged to get the large items delivered to her. After doing this a few times she gave up because it clearly wasn’t winding me up so it didn’t give her any satisfaction.

I had clearly moved on in my life and she was not happy about that one little bit.

Things get messy with kids but the less that your ex has hold over you the more liberating it is. A mountain of “stuff” is not as good as that feeling of liberation.

Here is another guy dealing with the “stuff” left over from a divorce. Her ex left behind her wedding dress. So he has started a web site to find 101 things to do with his ex-wife’s wedding dress. It’s a hoot!

What he is doing is making a mockery of a symbol. The wedding dress. Personally I think that is also a statement about the true value of marriage. That is also a good approach. I like subtle.

If you are going through a divorce then in 3 out of 4 cases your wife will move out or kick you out. Either way take my advice – get rid of the “stuff” as fast as possible. Anything you can replace – just let her have it. If you don’t need it then get rid of it. If it is something the kids need then give it to her if she asks for it and find a way to replace it. The faster you do this the better. Overnight wouldn’t be too hasty. You’ll find it very liberating.


  1. Avoid conflict – good stratergy – both parents need to get over it and focus on the kids. Social indicators from longitudinal studies show what a lack of dad is likely to lead too.

    Daves right, the kids need dad, not stuff – stuff can be replaced Dad cant. Its good advice.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  2. A very good point Dave — ‘stuff’ from a relationship is actually worth ‘stuff all’ from the point of view of a division under the Property (Relationship) Act 1976 anyway. It is valued fire auction prices less commission. I case I know of placed the value of the household chattels insured for $180,000 at only $7000 for the purposes of a division — that was $3500 for each party. To get a valuation cost each party about $600 — so that was $1200 off the value anyway. Wise words from the trenches.

    Comment by Gerry — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  3. Just make sure if you’re the one moving out that you take enough ‘stuff’ to make a decent 2nd home for the kid/s when/if they ever visit/ otherwise frankenwifey will maybe be tempted to get social services to pay you a visit to inspect the under-resourced hovel she’s so ‘kindly’ described to them.
    By the way did you realise the words mother and materialsism have the same latin origins in the word ‘mater’ ?
    What a hoot eh?
    Check it out and all sorts of things may fall into place conceptually

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 9:08 pm

  4. By the way did you realise the words mother and materialsism have the same latin origins in the word ‘mater’ ?

    Clever, you turned that back on the feminists.

    I heard a feminist once say on MND that we use the word women to mean material things while we use the word man to mean human.

    I had a good comeback to her using examples in the media but I now understand where she got this idea from. This is what they teach in women’s studies. Is the problem that women were considered a material possession? Or did men mean, my car, ship, our country means as much to us as a mother/woman?

    Comment by julie — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  5. Is the problem that women were considered a material possession?

    Women have NEVER been treated as any more or less of a material possession than men historically, despite what numbskull feminists would have you believe.

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  6. Women have NEVER been treated as any more or less of a material possession than men historically,

    So true. Everyone was oppressed under something whether it be tradition or leadership. Now a days it’s still leadership and extra taxes.

    despite what numbskull feminists would have you believe.

    I read a piece from an African Christian the other day Barbara sent me. She wrote how outside of Christianity women were treated as objects to justify her religion.

    The way I see it, older women have a lot of tales to share about their journey and life. I have my own, you have yours, everyone else has theirs, … all seen through their own experiences.

    But either way, things are extremely bias to men in NZ today (and a good number of yesterdays) so whether or not women were treated a certain way (from their experiences) it’s important to note men are being treated as objects today (i.e wallets).

    IMO, the whole country’s in discussion about divorce and fairness. The women hang with women so they discuss their side and hear terrible stories while the men hang with men so they discuss their side and hear terrible stories.

    It can’t be long until men start to get pissed off and demand something gets done about it.

    Comment by julie — Tue 25th May 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  7. Good one Dave…
    ‘A problem well defined is half-solved’ or
    ‘Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you’.

    Comment by Max — Wed 26th May 2010 @ 11:12 am

  8. Good points Dave. Same goes for live-in girlfriends who decide to move out in order to punish you for not behaving in a manner to their liking – but leave a few dresses hanging in your wardrobe. Pack everything of hers that she leaves behind in a box and drop it off at her door, pronto.

    Comment by rc — Thu 27th May 2010 @ 7:34 pm

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